Revisit stories of India's Partition in an immersive performance in Mumbai

Updated: 15 December, 2017 09:09 IST | Krutika Behrawala | Mumbai

Revisit the stories of separation from 1947 in an immersive performance that packs in Indian music, poetry recitals, theatre and compelling videos of survivors

'Laali akhiyaan di dasdi hai, roye assi vi, roye tussi vi (the redness in our eyes shows that you have cried and so have we)'. This verse by celebrated Punjabi poet Daman led artiste Sonam Kalra to conceptualise Partition: Stories of Separation. "Both sides of my family belong to parts of Punjab that are now in Pakistan. My mother's family was from Rawalpindi and my father's from Sargodha. Though I didn't have to live through the pain of the Partition, I have always been moved to tears when talking about it with someone," says the accomplished jazz singer from Delhi, who is trained in Indian music, and is also known for The Sufi Gospel Project.

The performance features a screen showcasing videos and poems in the backdrop
The performance features a screen showcasing videos and poems in the backdrop

"You won't hear jazz or gospel in this performance as the musical style is more traditional," says Kalra, who will take the stage with an ensemble of musicians led by sarangi virtuoso Ahsan Ali. The project premiered in Delhi last year and comes to Mumbai for the first time this Sunday. The compositions by Kalra have been inspired by the poems of Manto, Ali Sardar Jafri, Daman, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Amrita Pritam. It also feature verses of contemporary poet Deepak Ramola.

Sonam Kalra
Sonam Kalra

Interestingly, the experiential performance also blends theatre and videos narrating personal accounts of the Partition survivors. "The idea is to preserve the stories we've heard from our grandparents, so that they serve as lessons for future generations," she adds. While the team shot some videos, many were sourced from the 1947 Partition Archive, Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi, and enhanced with graphics created by visual artist Gopika Chowfla. Acclaimed theatre actor Salima Raza is also part of the project. She will recite passages of poetry and bring the stories to life in sync with the ensemble's tunes.

On December 17, 6.30 pm
At Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Log on to
ENTRY Rs 400 onwards

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First Published: 15 December, 2017 09:05 IST

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